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Objectives The student will be able to: Explain public sector significance Identify a public sector worker Describe the evolution of bargaining Discuss recent developments in public sector labour relations Differentiate between public and private sector bargaining

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The student will be able to:

  • Explain public sector significance
  • Identify a public sector worker
  • Describe the evolution of bargaining
  • Discuss recent developments in public sector labour relations
  • Differentiate between public and private sector bargaining
  • Describe public sector dispute resolution

The Importance the Public Sector

  • Essential nature of work performed, i.e. teachers, health care, garbage collection, snow removal, etc.
  • No readily available substitute
  • Sizeable share of workforce and union membership
  • In state of crisis with deficits
the public sector worker
The Public Sector Worker
  • Types of public sector workers
    • Federal and provincial civil services
    • Municipalities
    • Health care
    • Education
  • Steady decline in employment percentage
  • Union density rates higher than private
public sector unionism
Public Sector Unionism
  • Developed much later than private sector
    • Most workers not unionized until 1967 Public Service Staff Relations Act
    • Emerged fully in very short time
early public sector unionism
Early Public Sector Unionism
  • Early years
    • Public employee associations
    • Believed that nature of work ruled out collective bargaining
    • Didn’t like adversarial tone of traditional unions
    • National Joint Council for all federal government workers had no real power
  • Transition to new federal government granted bargaining rights
impacts of pssra
Impacts of PSSRA

After PSSRA (1967) gave federal

employees the right to join unions:

  • Public sector unionization grew rapidly
  • Given right to binding arbitration or conciliation-strike
  • Essential services designated
end of the golden age
End of the Golden Age
  • Between 1960s and 1975 negotiated significant improvements in wages and working conditions
  • In 1975 federal government imposed three-year program of wage and price controls
  • Governments began to take harder line
  • Unions responded with increased militancy
the 1980s wage controls
The 1980s: Wage Controls
  • Wage controls again in 1980s
  • Quebec rolled back public sector wages
  • Some governments removed right to strike
  • Sweeping changes to labour legislation in some jurisdictions
1990s retrenchment and restructuring
1990s Retrenchment and Restructuring
  • Continuing public sector wage freezes
  • Suspension of collective bargaining
  • Governments reduced size and scope of operations
  • Growing lack of job security
  • First full scale public strike in 1991
1990s retrenchment and restructuring10
1990s Retrenchment and Restructuring
  • Similar action throughout provinces
    • Unpopular municipal restructuring
    • Labour parties in power also downsizing
    • Centralization of decision-making
    • Frozen wages and reductions in pay
the twenty first century
The Twenty-First Century
  • Late 1990s most governments moved from a deficit to surplus
  • Gradual collective bargaining resumption
  • Provincial governments take tough measures including back to work legislation in late 1990s

Distinctions Between Public

and Private Sector Bargaining

  • Dual role of government as employer and legislator
  • Greater diffusion of public sector management authority
    • Many departments have both administrative and political role and different funding sources
  • Political power vs. economics
    • Strikes can benefit public body financially
    • Lack of “bottom line”
distinctions between public and private sector bargaining
Distinctions Between Public and Private Sector Bargaining
  • Public sector employee differences:
    • More likely female, professional and white-collar
    • Pay and employment equity issues
    • Reimbursement of professional dues issue
    • Same job security, income levels, hours of work, workload concerns as private sector
distinctions between public and private sector bargaining14
Distinctions Between Public and Private Sector Bargaining
  • Union differences:
    • Inherently political
    • Political action and publicity campaigns
    • Representation quite fragmented, particularly in health care and education
    • Different unions may compete for same group of workers
distinctions between public and private sector bargaining15
Distinctions Between Public and Private Sector Bargaining
  • Legislative and policy differences:
    • Greater degree of variation in dispute resolution methods
    • More restriction on public unions’ rights
    • May be several different laws that apply to public sector unions
    • Restrictions on who can strike
    • Local political considerations play role
bargaining unit determination
Bargaining Unit Determination
  • Scope of bargaining unit may be spelled out in legislation
    • May be legislative requirement that certain union represents employees
  • Scope of bargaining issues
    • Severely limited in public sector which may hurt process
    • Restrictions are a source of conflict
public sector dispute resolution procedures
Public Sector Dispute Resolution Procedures

Alternative procedures:

  • Back-to-work legislation
  • Imposition of binding arbitration
    • Conventional interest arbitration
    • Final-offer selection
  • Choice of Procedures
  • Controlled strike

Future of Public Sector Bargaining

  • Extremely conflict-ridden
  • Increase in workloads/lack of job security
  • Tough stance on public sector wages make it impossible for employees to make up losses
  • Escalation of severe tensions
future of public sector bargaining
Future of Public Sector Bargaining
  • Fryer Committee, task force of managers, union officials, and academics established
    • Found a serious lack of trust and respect between parties
    • Chief recommendation was for new institutional framework for labour– management relations
    • Recommended creation of a Public interest Disputes Resolution Committee and a Compensation Research Bureau
    • Public Service Labour Act replaced the PSSRA in April 2005
future of public sector bargaining20
Future of Public Sector Bargaining
  • If public sector is to have the same creative solutions as the private sector, they will need the full range of bargaining tools available
  • Fist step is to expand the scope of bargaining